Mommy and Baby Yoga Is Definitely the Cutest Workout You’ll Ever Do

By Laura Wing and Jim Kamoosi for PureWow

Getting back into the habit of working out after giving birth? Easier said than done. That's why mommy-and-me yoga is the perfect solution. We teamed up with Karma Kids Yoga to bring you three moves you can do right in your living room with baby in tow.

Downward Dog to Plank: Start in downward dog, with your feet hips' width apart, your hands on either side of your adorable yoga partner and your butt up toward the sky. Lower your rear end until you’re in plank position with your core locked and your face right over your baby’s happy smile. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to downward dog.

Raised Leg Crunches: A core exercise for mom becomes a flying lesson for baby. Start lying on your back with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your baby on your shins and engage your core to come up for a kiss. Your abs might get tired, but you’ll never get sick of hearing those giggles.

Boat Pose: Balance on your sits bones with your back straight, your legs bent and your baby sitting happily on your thighs. Increase the difficulty, and fun for baby, by holding your nugget straight up in the air above your core while you hold.

This is officially the cutest workout ever. Check out the video!

Karin Blake Designs a Malibu Home That Evokes New England Charm

 
 

By Patricia Leigh Brown for Architectural Digest

Like a good novel, the phrase "having it all" is open to interpretation. If you are living in Los Angeles and possess an East Coast soul, one way to have it all is to confound geography and build your own private Nantucket along the windswept dunes of Malibu.

That the New England of shingle roofs and wide-plank floors shares the same beach with stucco extravaganzas occupied by movie stars is a testament to the creative power of designer Karin Blake and her longtime clients Greg and Teresa Nathanson.

Tucked into coastal dunes on a quiet stretch of Malibu, the residence exudes East Coast groundedness, albeit among the palms. It is the third collaboration between the designer and her clients: The first one was 25 years ago, when the newlywed couple hired Blake, who was just beginning her formidable career, to design a house on a budget of $15,000.

For years the Nathansons fantasized about a beach residence where the extended family might gather. After renting for many summers, they were finally able to build their first house from scratch. Since they are honorary New Englanders (he's from Illinois; she grew up in the Bay Area), their sensibilities and Blake's fit together like a dovetail joint. "Teresa is more East Coast than a lot of my East Coast clients," Blake says affectionately.

The designer brought her singular eye to the residence's exterior architecture—painted her favorite green—as well as the interior design and detailing, including the wood double-hung windows. Blake has long been influenced by Shaker architecture. She combines her strong background in American folk art with a studied spareness: She regards white walls as "a clean palette."

The heart of the house—she dislikes the term "great room"—is a combined kitchen, dining area and living area that provides an elegant foil for exuberant folk art, which Blake not only finds but which also, quite magically, seems to find her. Who else but Blake would stumble upon a vintage iron Northern Pacific Railroad express wagon, still bearing faded traces of paint on its wheels? (It is now a low table). "I love industrial pieces," she says.

The touches of green echo the green paint on a rare cupboard from Connecticut. "I love paint, color and whimsy," she remarks. "It's not so much what I put into houses," she adds. "It's how I put it in."

The wood ceiling beams, for instance, were procured from Vermont barns. The staggered wide-plank walnut flooring was aged to suggest having been trod upon by centuries of boots and shoes. Blake's trademark white-painted "Z" kitchen cabinet doors are based on originals now in her own Montana residence. Those doors, which have hand-forged-iron latches and hinges, were salvaged from a stable owned by the late actor George Montgomery, who was a respected furniture craftsman in addition to being a film star. "Ever since the stable was dismantled," Blake explains with bemusement, "people have said, " I want those doors.' "

She sleuths antiques from New York to Camden, Maine. Her affinity for folk art is wide and deep, from important canvases like a portrait of a young girl with a dog by Ammi Phillips, which hangs in the master bedroom, to a whimsical cast-iron clown head from Coney Island. With its black bowler hat and wide red grin, the figure spent its life atop a garbage can along the boardwalk. "The dealer claimed it was a bean toss, because a bean toss sounds better than a garbage can," says Blake.

Blake's relationship with her clients tends to be ongoing. She has been known to call clients up five years later to say, "I've found something for your hallway."

Left Coast guests are often surprised to encounter a residence steeped in New England history and restraint, especially along the beach in Malibu. "Southern Californians aren't used to the style, but they walk in delighted," Nathanson says. "The warmth always wins them over."

New Study Reveals Moms Need a Full Year for Recovery After Giving Birth

from Red Tricycle

Growing a baby a beautiful experience, but it’s also demanding on your body. New mothers may be told by books and doctors that they’ll be back to ‘normal’ within six weeks of giving birth, but a new study has found that most women take much longer to recover.

Dr. Julie Wray, a researcher at Salford University in England, interviewed women at different stages of post-partum life. She found that the standard six-week recovery period is a “complete fantasy,” and it can take a full year to recover from childbirth.

It’s not just physical recovery that’s needed, but mental as well. Many feel the pressure to get back on their feet soon after childbirth and feel it may be necessary to head back to work as early as six weeks.

Wray found that recovery should start in the hospital. Back in the day, women spent more time in the maternity ward learning how to take care of their infant and getting breastfeeding advice. Now, some women are discharged as early as six hours after giving birth and expected to just go with it, according to Wray’s research.

“The research shows that more realistic and woman-friendly postnatal services are needed,” Wray concluded. “Women feel that it takes much longer than six weeks to recover and they should be supported beyond the current six to eight weeks after birth.”

Recovery after childbirth is different for everyone, but the general consensus is that a full year to heal the body and mind is much better than a month and a half.

Find expert help for your growing family with British American Newborn Care.

Where to Walk, Run or Bike in Beverly Hills

Beverly Gardens Park

Beverly Gardens Park

From Love Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills is synonymous with world-renowned shopping, casual celebrity sightings and Michelin-starred chefs. Less well-known, but equally enjoyable, are the numerous opportunities to stretch your legs and soak in the fresh California sunshine. So lace up your shoes or strap on a helmet and leave the car behind. Whether you plan to walk, run or bike, Beverly Hills offers several unique ways to explore.

Walk from Beverly Cañon Gardens to Will Rogers Memorial Park 

Ease yourself into the day and work off that decadent Bouchon brunch with a leisurely walk. Start at Beverly Cañon Gardens, a quaint public garden situated near celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s Georgie restaurant at Montage Beverly Hills. Stroll through this tranquil green space filled with landscaped hedges, cascading fountains and colonnaded walkways.

When you’re ready to explore farther afield, walk north to the “Flats.” Aptly named, the wide, flat, tree-lined streets of this residential neighborhood are perfect for walkers. Take time to admire the immaculately maintained properties in the neighborhood, which display a wide variety of architectural styles like low-slung Cape Cod homes, palatial French Provincial mansions, and mid-century modernist gems.

Finish your walk at Will Rogers Memorial Park where you’ll feel miles away from the big city. Then, cross the legendary Sunset Boulevard to relax and sip a cool refreshment while you stroll the beautiful grounds of The Beverly Hills Hotel.

Run at Beverly Gardens Park

The morning air is fresh and cool in Beverly Hills and it’s the ideal time to run. While the city offers beautiful green spaces, a jog through Beverly Gardens Park offers ample space and a chance to sightsee as well.

This iconic park stretches 22 blocks (1.9 miles) along North Santa Monica Boulevard, from Wilshire Boulevard to Doheny Drive. Pause your run for a photo at one of the city’s most famous sights, the 40-foot-long Beverly Hills sign. The recently-renovated park is also home to an impressive collection of public artworks, including Electric Fountaina grand water feature that appeared in the movie Clueless and The Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” music video, and Endless Va beautiful multilingual sculpture by the internationally acclaimed Spanish Catalan artist Jaume Plensa.

Once you reach Doheny Fountain at the eastern end of the park, venture north and cool down on the wide, tree-lined streets in the surrounding neighborhood.

Bike with Beverly Hills Bike Share

Beverly Hills’ extensive bike share program allows locals and visitors alike to easily cruise around the city’s six square miles and explore the parks and neighborhoods for only $7 an hour. Use the Beverly Hills Bike Share website or download the app to find and reserve an available bike at one of the bike share stations located throughout the city.

Once you have found your bike and unlocked it with your PIN code, start pedaling. With two wheels at your disposal, you can easily visit all of the parks and neighborhoods on the walking and running itinerary. Make a loop through the shady Beverly Gardens Park to photograph the permanent art installations and the Beverly Hills Sign. Then cycle the forgiving streets of the Flats neighborhood and admire the luxurious rolling green lawns and beautiful mansions. If you’re up for more of a challenge, point your bicycle north and leave the flatlands for the hillier—but equally charming—streets north of Sunset Boulevard.

Bike Farther to Coldwater Canyon Park

The truly ambitious bikers can head off the beaten path to Coldwater Canyon Park, which is located at 1100 North Beverly Drive where Beverly Drive meets Coldwater Canyon Drive, a main route to go “over the hill” to the San Fernando Valley.

The park provides a beautiful, peaceful green space with picnic tables, a playground area, an arbor and benches. There is also a small stream that flows through the park where children and their pets can walk and splash in, a feature long loved and appreciated by local families and visitors alike.

Across the street, on the eastern side of Coldwater Canyon Drive and adjacent to the fire station, is a well maintained soft surface running track perfect for walkers or joggers, young and old. 

Mommy & Me Family Activities in Beverly Hills

From Love Beverly Hills

She plays dress-up with your clothes, tries on your lipstick and when she grows up, she wants to be just like you. Treat your daughter to a Mommy & Me day in Beverly Hills and share new memories with this guide to a special day with your favorite little one.

  • Have breakfast at THE Blvd located at Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotelwhere you’ll both enjoy their breakfast menu, which includes chocolate chip pancakes, cereal and French toast for the kids and omelets, poached eggs and waffles for the adults. After your delicious meal, explore this hotel's stunning halls of original 1920s charm. You may recognize the setting from the beloved popular film, Pretty Woman.
  • After breakfast, walk to Color Me Mine where you can create a piece of art together. First, you’ll select a piece of pottery to paint from over 400 available options, like piggy banks, plates, mugs or flower pots. Once you’re finished, the Color Me Mine team will glaze your masterpiece and have it available for pickup in about three days.
  • On your way back to the Golden Triangle, swing into Anthropologie for a bit of shopping for yourself. Anthropologie carries everything from dresses, blouses and active wear to shoes, bags and even items for home, such as furniture, decorative pillows and cookware.
  • If you really want to see your little girl’s eyes light up, take her up to the Mezzanine level where BHLDN’s bridal shop is located. With bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses to earrings, headpieces and shoes, we guarantee she’ll love taking a peek at this boutique.
  • Now that you’ve shown her how to shop in Beverly Hills style, it’s your daughter’s time to shine! Located walking distance from Anthropologie, Auntie Barbara’s Kids carries toys, accessories and clothes for children up to size 8 and will have your daughter looking and feeling like a superstar in no time.
  • After all of the shopping and walking has built up an appetite, head to Il Fornaioon North Beverly Drive for lunch. Serving authentic Italian cuisine and offering al fresco dining with tables set outside, we’re certain the homemade pasta and pizza will hit the spot.
  • Once you’ve finished your meal, walk to Tom’s Toys, on North Beverly Drive, where your daughter can admire the dolls, board games, stuffed animals and other children’s favorites displayed in the store.
  • After you’ve had a bit of fun playing at Tom’s, stroll over to Olive & June for a side-by-side mother/daughter manicure. Your daughter will love the experience of selecting a color from the salon’s wall of over 350 nail polishes.
  • Once your nails have dried, walk to the Beverly Hills Visitor Center, where a friendly concierge will offer more tips on where to explore and how to get around. This is also the perfect chance for you to purchase a Beverly Hills souvenir to remember the special day. Before you go, remember to ask the concierge to take your photo in front of the famous Beverly Hills shield, just outside the Visitors Center!
  • Ask the concierge to arrange for a taxi and take a trip to The Witch's House, also known as the Spadena House. Looking as if it was plucked straight out of a fairytale, this private home in a quiet, residential neighborhood stands out among its neighbors with its pointy, lopsided roof, small windows and stucco exterior.
  • Have your cab then bring you back to the Golden Triangle and drop you off at the shop that started the global cupcake craze: Sprinkles Cupcakes. The Beverly Hills Sprinkles is home to a 24-hour cupcake ATM which plays a catchy song as it dispenses its famous cupcakes.
  • Walk toward Rodeo Drive and stop into Catamini for one more shopping adventure. This trendy, Paris-based children’s clothing brand takes contemporary fashion and adapts it to fit the needs of today’s kids and their daily activities. With bright colors and fun prints, your daughter will love this shopping experience in Beverly Hills.
  • Continue east on South Santa Monica Boulevard and step into Sugarfina, a candy store for all ages. With unique confections like Black Currant Berry Gummies, Super Sour Hearts and Mandarin Orange Chocolate Cordials, we’re certain you’ll both find something to savor as you finish your special day in Beverly Hills.

5 Things Nursery School Taught Me

nursery-learning-child-montessori

By Lexi Mainland from A Cup of Jo

My two-year-old started school this fall and he’s full of surprising new knowledge. “Snails only have one foot, Mommy,” he pointed out when I tried (clumsily) to draw a portrait of the classroom pet. But, true to parenting form, I think I’ve gained as much wisdom as he has. His teachers, who use the Montessori method, have decades of experience with little ones and I’ve picked up so many tips. Here are five that were especially thought-provoking…

On please and thank you. Parents often encourage toddlers to use pleasantries like please and thank you, but the head teacher says that’s less important than teaching them to ask nicely — without shouting, demanding or whining — and directly, with eye contact. In her view, most two-year-olds can’t yet understand the meaning of please or thank you (they’re just words), but they can understand the difference between saying “more crackers” nicely and not.

On self-care. One of Montessori’s tenets is teaching children how do practical things themselves. There are many dimensions to this, but my favorite is the water pitcher. A covered pitcher is always available next to a stack of durable glasses and a small towel. The kids learn to help themselves whenever they need a drink. And if they spill a little, no big deal — a towel is right there so they can clean up. (Jasper loves pouring water for himself and everyone else.)

On referring to classmates. All the kids at school are taught to call their classmates “friends,” which is so sweet. For young children who are still getting their sea legs socially (and might find memorizing a bunch of new names challenging), being able to say, “I played with a friend!” at the end of the day is empowering. Jasper tells me, “I have eight different friends in my class!”

On praising toddlers. There are a ton of different philosophies about how to praise kids, but when Jasper does something great, we tend to overreact. “Great job!” I’ll say. Or “Wow, that’s amazing!” His teachers at school have a more matter-of-fact way of praising that Jasper really responds to. They’ll acknowledge his work (“You made a picture!”) and offer praise that’s specific rather than general. “I like how you drew the tree so tall,” they’ll say. The idea is that this encourages kids to think and talk about their about their own work, and to appreciate its merits on their own, rather than always looking to others for approval.

On diaper duty. Our school leaves potty training (and its timeline) up to parents and kids, but they help support the process and have a specific point of view: Always change toddlers’ diapers in the bathroom, standing up. Anything solid in the diaper gets flushed down the toilet and kids wash their hands after being changed. When we learned this on parents’ night, all of us collectively slapped our foreheads. What a sensible way to start showing little kids what the bathroom is all about. It instantly sets them on the path to potty training.

What has your kids’ school taught you about parenting? Do you do any of these things? I’d love to hear.

Putting the Me Back in Mommy

Advice from Happily Eva After

Hi Eva,

I love your blog and the advice you give, you seem very balanced and level headed– and wanted to ask how you found the balance between being you and being “Mom”. I’m 28 and have two girls, one almost 5 and one 4 months old. I have gone through post natal depression and on the other side of it I’m wondering how I strike the balance between being myself and being Mom. 
My husband and I never have date nights and I spend a good 99% of my time looking after my children or my house. I never get the time to be myself– and I’m not even sure who that is anymore. 

I feel a lot of judgement from the other Moms at my daughter’s school and worry that me being me, might result in my daughter being left out of party invites or out of school activities if Moms don’t like me. I’m not an awful person, don’t get me wrong– I just feel the need to behave a certain way around them (best foot forward and all) but it means that they don’t get to know me. They know “Mom” me and it’s exhausting. I should mention that most of my pre-baby friends stopped contacting me when I had my first child. Because I couldn’t do plans spur of the moment they left me out. This means I’m alone a lot of the time and as a Mom, I’m sure you know making new friends is difficult.

Do you ever feel conflicted about your roles or feel like you need to put on a front in front of other mothers to be accepted? What can I do to strike a balance between me and “Mom” me? and do you have any tips on making new friend circles? I miss having connections with grown ups that don’t demand pudding cups or spit up on my top.

Thank you,

Ms. Mom Minus The Me

mom-and-baby.jpeg

My Dearest Mom-Minus-The-Me,

I’m declaring a state of emergency– I won’t allow you to keep on going feeling this way!  Your letter really moved me.  I can relate to that internal struggle between being there wholly and completely for our children, and celebrating and preserving our own senses of identity.  In fact, Happily Eva After was born out of a intense period of questioning and thinking as I worked through my own balance when it comes to this concept.  I’m so sorry you’re having such a hard time, and I do have a few things to say that hopefully will help you feel stronger, more positive, and perhaps inspire you to shine your light as brightly as humanly possible.

I think the first step is knowing who we are, but I think that the other half of the battle is liking who we are.  At the moment, it seems that you have lost track of both.  And I don’t blame you.  Two children, a relationship, and a bout of depression are enough to send anyone gasping for air.  There’s a lot on your plate.  But let’s get right to the bottom of this and agree that you desperately need to invest more time and energy in YOU.

I can tell that a lot of your reluctance to shine as brightly as you can has to do with not feeling enough as you are.  I hate that you feel insecure around other Mothers at your daughter’s school– that must be a terrible feeling, and I know that your main concern is for your daughter’s happiness and inclusion.  Let me tell you, however, that what all our children need the most is for their parents to shine their authentic, vibrant light as brightly as possible.  How can we expect our children to be all that they can be if we don’t show them firsthand who we ourselves are? Unapologetically.  Believe it or not, your children know you.  They really, really know you.  They’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly (parenting can get not-so-pretty at times) and they absolutely adore you.  And it’s not because you feed them, and clothe them, and put a roof over their heads.  It’s because they love YOU.  All parts of you.  Allow their estimation of you to be the one that counts, and start to project to others the person that your children know you to be.  I truly believe that so much of what makes us each excellent Mothers in our own ways are actually the things that we sometimes let slip in to the background when we have children.  All of our life experiences– our imaginations, our senses of humor, our wildness, our loudness, our creativity, our contradictions, our appetites for adventure– these are all the things that we MUST maintain as parents.  After all, Human children need to be raised by real live Human parents.  Not robots.

You also need to go on Date Nights.  It doesn’t have to be every week, but it does have to be at least once a month.  Get dressed up.  Make yourself feel like the woman you were before children, before self-judgement, and exhaustion, and pudding cups, and spit up.  She’s still in there!  Start thinking about something or some things that you can do for yourself.  It can be something small like joining a book club or learning something new (fun dance class, online yoga course, cooking, knitting fabulous cashmere hats for Winter, a language you’ve been dying to pick up) or even something bigger like finding the time to leave your children with their father for a weekend while you go visit a friend out of town.  Go to a museum once a month without the rest of your family and remember what it was like to take something in and experience it throughyour unhurried gaze.  Eat lunch by yourself and read a magazine.  Enjoy the quiet! Whatever type of “Me Time” you choose, you need to value your own experiences and needs a little more– it will make your entire family happier, trust me!

As far as the friendships go– your old friends sound terrible! Good riddance! I can’t believe they basically abandoned you at your most vulnerable with zero understanding about your very fresh transition in life.  How selfish and short-sighted.  I think as you begin to explore your own needs a little more and nurture who YOU ARE as a woman, you will begin to meet some like-minded people.  When we like ourselves, we definitely attract friends who like us too!  Maybe even join a Mommy Group with your little baby and see if there are any fellow Moms in there that you connect with! Even if there’s one cool chick in the bunch, it will be a great connection.  You ladies can pick a date and go out on the town together! You definitely deserve it.

And by the way, your husband won’t believe the sassy, sexy, vibrant woman his wife turns back in to as soon as she is investing time and energy in herself.  He will be your number one fan!  Lucky guy…

I wish you all the best!!!

xoxo

EAM

British American Newborn Care

www.bababynurses.com

Advice for finding your Baby Nurse/ Newborn Care Specialist

British American Newborn Care provides heavily screened and highly qualified Baby Nurses and Newborn Care Specialists in The United States and United Kingdom, all of whom are known for their incisive knowledge and expertise in the newborn and childcare industries. They recommend the following advice when hiring a Baby Nurse/Newborn Care Specialist (NCS):

First and foremost, have a list of questions ready to screen the Baby Nurse or NCS.  Your questions and their answers should be crosschecked with the American School of Pediatrics. Examples are:

 

At what stage do I start ‘sleep scheduling?

·      Correct answer: Not before 3.5 months- 5 months is recommended

·      Incorrect answer: From day 1, from 2-weeks, 8-weeks etc.

 

What can I do to help my infant sleep through the night without actually sleep scheduling?

·      Correct answer: Mum can stand beside the crib but don’t pick the infant up each time he/she cries.

·      Incorrect answer: Let the infant cry it out. Use feeding as a method to sleep schedule.

 

What are the reasons for colic and what can be administered for it?

·      Correct answer: There are many reasons for colic - the Mother’s diet (should be low in acid), the infant eating too quickly, food sensitivities on the infant’s side, etc.  Check with the pediatrician before giving anything to the infant

·      Incorrect answer: Gripe water from my country, advising any kind of medication administration whatsoever

 

We recommend you, the Mother, start searching for a Baby Nurse as early as possible.  Baby Nurses get booked up quickly throughout the year, so the sooner you start searching, the more choice you will have. Baby Nurses on the East Coast are often much more flexible with their schedule and are typically less expensive than those on the West Coast. West Coast based baby nurses (commonly termed Newborn Care Specialists in California) tend to be more professional, hold more certifications, and are often highly qualified. There are many Baby Nurses on the East Coast who match this level of expertise, but we recommend a mother use a trusted agency to ensure the unqualified and potentially dangerous caregivers are extracted from the mix.

 

British American Newborn Care recommends hiring two Baby Nurses to cover the 24-hour shift. This way, neither Baby Nurse is at risk of exhaustion and subsequently becoming unfit to care for your infant. The recommended length of time to keep a baby nurse is from 3-6 months.

This ensures proper transition to a Nanny (nannies rarely have hands-on experience with infants less than 3 months).

 

Interview carefully.  Evaluate certifications (which can include Infant Care Specialist, infant CPR, LPN, LVN RN), years of experience and skill level, and find out if this is somebody you are comfortable with.  The Baby Nurse should support your beliefs, providing they are safe.  Topics to cover include your ideas relating to breastfeeding and formula, sleeping, feeding, development etc.  NO Baby Nurse should try to alter your values or bully you into thinking their way.  If you feel the Baby Nurse is this type of caregiver during the interview process, RUN! Always check certifications and references, and run an all-State and Federal background check.  Finally, Google searching and social media searching is an imperative step all mothers should take.

 

The cost of a Baby Nurse can range from $25-60 an hour, or $350-$1,000 a day.  If you do hire a Baby Nurse for a 24-hour period, a minimum of 4-hours off each day to rest and recoup are required.

 

Lastly and most importantly, listen to your instinct - a mother’s intuition is rarely wrong.

 

Any questions in relation to hiring a caregiver, Baby Nurse or NCS, or any other household help (housekeepers, chefs, managers, personal assistants), email info@bahs.com or call (212) 966-2247 (BAHS)

 

Check out www.bababynurses.com for more details on Baby Nurses and Newborn Care Specialists through British American Newborn Care. 

 

Anita Rogers is the founder of British American Household Staffing (bahs.com), British American Newborn Care (www.bababynurses.com) and British American Yachts (bahsyachts.com).